The warmer weather may have drawn you outside and into the garden, but there are still plenty of projects around the house to keep you busy. What about air-conditioning? Maybe you are looking for a little sun protection on your deck. We take a look at both of those projects and much more this week.


Riverside Design Center

You have walked through the new model home and made a decision to purchase a new home. Then you walk into a pure white, blank slate home and you are overwhelmed! Don’t worry, there is help! We visited with Kelly from Riverside Homes (503-645-0986) to learn about their design center and how they can help you make those tough design choices so you end up with the home of your dreams. First of all, the design center can help you make the choices of colors, appliances, wood finishes, cabinets, and even hardware for the sinks. They can even point you in the direction of other experts if you have questions. There are 8 different neighborhoods for you to choose from as well. If you are looking for a new home, you can start with Riverside Homes.

New Knobs

Looking to make a quick style change in your kitchen? It can be easily done by simply changing the knobs and hardware on your cabinets. A couple of minutes and you can brighten your mood and your kitchen!



Basic Knives

The key to success in the kitchen is a good set of knives. We stopped by the Sur la Table (503-968-8015) store at Bridgeport Village to get the basics on cutting tools from Laura. Having the right knife will make your work in the kitchen easier and more enjoyable. Picking a good knife can take a little time. You are looking for a good quality knife, which is sharp and will feel good in your hand. The 3 basic knives that you are looking for are a Chef’s knife, a good bread knife and a paring knife. One of the most important things to remember is to keep your knife sharp. More injuries occur with a dull knife than with a sharp one. A dull knife will make you struggle with cutting and that can cause accidents. You should also have a honing steel with your knives. Every time you pull out your knives you should use the honing steel to keep the edge sharp! There is also a special way to hold a knife. Pinch it with your thumb and forefinger at the base of the blade, and then wrap your fingers around the handle. You want the knife to feel like an extension of your arm and hand and not something bulky and hard to control. If you have any questions about knives and which ones may be right for you, you can stop by any of the Sur la Table stores around the Northwest.



We found a neat little kitchen tool that would be a great tool for any cook. It is a Micro-plane grater. This tool can be used for lots of different jobs in the kitchen. Robin showed us how you can use it to get lemon zest from a lemon for cooking and flavoring. Ken then took it and used it to make some fine-grated parmesan cheese, perfect for the pasta dinner Ken wants Robin to make!



Garden to Grill – Custard and Potatoes

Bringing the tastes of your garden to your table is the thought behind the ‘Garden to Grill’ classes at Drake’s 7 Dees (503-256-2223) nursery. Lynn joined us to explain the concept and to show us a couple of the recipes that she will be sharing at the next class. First she showed us a Sweet Woodruff Yogurt Custard, which not only tasted good, it is completely healthy. Then she shared a Dutch over recipe for potatoes. It was delicious because she used an Italian Parsley which really brings out the flavor. You can get your chance to try these recipes and learn how to make them yourself at the latest ‘Garden to Grill’ class happening today, Saturday April 25th at 10am. Drake’s will be holding one of these classes once a month, so check their events schedule for the next one. Lynn will also tell you which plants to get now for some great dishes later this summer.


Basic Plumbing Tools

Dealing with plumbing can be nerve wracking, but the real frustration comes with a plumbing emergency and not having the right tools to make a repair (or limit the damage). We found all the right tools at the parts department at George Morlan Plumbing (503-224-7000) and the always friendly Dave Charvet to teach us about them. The first tools in our bag of tricks were shut-off tools. If you have an emergency you will want to know where the water shut-off is. It could be near the street, in your garage or even under your house. Once you know where it is then you can get a meter key to help you shut of the valve. You should also have a meter key for your gas line in your kit as well. Next we talked about X-treme Tape. This is a tape that sticks to itself, creates a water-tight seal and can stop most leaks for quite awhile. To perform simple repairs to most pipes we talked about SharkBite fittings. These fittings are pressure sealed once you use them and are a permanent repair for most jobs. You can use the SharkBite fittings with flexible PEX pipe for jobs that need a bigger repair. Next we looked at tools for drain clogs. The first one was a pressure valve that uses water pressure to force the clog away instead of using chemicals. The other tool was a Closet Auger. This is a mini-snake that is easier to use and easier to store.

Parr Awning

With summer right around the corner you may be thinking of enjoying outdoors on your deck or patio. All that outside fun may come to a halt when the sun is too over-powering. We stopped at Parr Lumber (503-531-7277) to visit with Chris to see what suggestions he had for beating the heat. He recommended having a patio cover to extend your outdoor enjoyment. The experts at Parr can help you if you are looking to build a wood and fabric cover, but today we focused on the more popular and more permanent aluminum structure by SkyVue. These newer awnings can even be color matched to your deck or house color. They will even install them for you. Maintenance is a lot easier and you can keep it clean with just soap and water. These awnings can also help block harmful UV rays. If you are thinking of a patio cover or awning, check with the experts at Parr Lumber.


Energy Efficient Furnaces

So the weather is warming up and you may think that the days of heating your house are gone for this year. Actually now is a great time to think about replacing your old inefficient furnace. Garth from Roth Heating and Cooling (503-266-1249) met us in the garage to see how much we could save by changing out our furnace. If your furnace is 10-15 years old it could be only 70 percent efficient and that could be costing you a lot! New equipment now runs at 95 percent efficiency and that is a huge cost savings. Not only will you save money every time the heat comes on, you can also enjoy big incentives. With the recent government stimulus package, you can save over $2,500 with incentives and rebates on certain models. You can also look into new filtering systems that will remove the indoor pollutants to help keep your family healthy. And don’t forget to add the air-conditioning! Check with Roth to find out how much you can save!


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This page last modified
February 12, 2011.